Author: Risal Pena Catalina

The Reason MPH Is Closing Down Its Bookstores Is Not What You Think It Is

This post was published in August 2018 when MPH shuttered its 1Utama branch. It has since been updated to reflect the current state of affairs after the book retailer closed down its last two outlets in Singapore in 2019 and in 2020, 11 other outlets in Malaysia. The reason for the closures, as was it was with MPH 1Utama, possibly remains the same, only they were probably expedited because of the COVID-19 pandemic.   On 7 August, 2018 I heard the news, first reported by Amenic Film Space, that MPH’s 1 Utama branch has closed down. Some people have attributed...

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BOOK REVIEW | Soulless by Rozlan Mohd. Noor

There is a sense of bleakness that permeates Soulless: Inspector Mislan and the Faceless Girl, the latest of the Inspector Mislan novels, a bilingual series of whodunits written by retired Malaysian policeman Rozlan Mohd. Noor. The novel begins with a scene of destitution and despair: a drug addict named Aden Kho, living in the squalor of downtown KL, encounters the rotting corpse of a mutilated murder victim – she has no face. Thus begins a lengthy and exhaustive investigation to uncover the truth surrounding the death of an individual who is faceless in both the literal and figurative sense...

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BOOK REVIEW | Coitus Interruptus and Other Stories

Author : Malachi Edwin Vethamani Genre : Short stories Novel Pages : 92 I did not quite expect to like Coitus Interruptus and Other Stories as much as I did. The not-very suggestive title denotes the interruption of a sexual act, and someone could be forgiven for mistaking the book for a collection of erotica. I’m glad that I gave this book a chance. Coitus Interruptus and Other Stories shows that Malachi Edwin Vethamani, already very well-received as a poet of two collections – Complicated Lives (2016) and Life Happens (2017) – is an adept and emphatic writer of short...

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BOOK REVIEW | The Tudung Anthology

Editor               : Azalia Zaharuddin Publisher          : Matahari Books Genre               : Various (Fiction and Non-Fiction) No. of pages    :  201 In the preface for The Tudung Anthology, Azalia Zaharudin states that the book is a collection of personal reactions to the ‘never-ending questions and judgments, be it from Muslims or non-Muslims’ by ‘women from different walks of life’. Its aim is to provide a ‘bigger picture’ on the wearing of the tudung beyond choices of wearing it or not, and (perhaps as an attempt to steer accusations of challenging religious dictates away) it is emphasized to be ‘not a religious...

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BOOK REVIEW | Ho Khong Ming’s The Tiger and the Leopardess

Author : Ho Khong Ming Publisher : Gerakbudaya Genre : Fiction Novel Pages : 194 The Tiger and the Leopardess is a unique novel with an interesting history. In its preface, the author mentions publishing its earlier edition with the now defunct Partridge, a pay-to-publish outlet that had been acquired by Penguin Random House. Paying to publish (or vanity publishing as it is sometimes derogatorily called) is a form of self-publishing that hasn’t been regarded kindly by some members of the reading public, it gives authors the freedom to work with diverse material that conventional publishers may be less willing...

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